Defense contractor Lockheed Martin this week announced it has been awarded more than $245 million in contract options to produce the next two iterations of the U.S. Air Force’s Global Positioning System.
Lockheed, which has a significant Colorado Springs presence, stated in a news release Tuesday the company is now under contract to complete the seventh and eighth GPS III satellites.
The second set of four GPS III vehicles was initially funded last February and the Air Force opted to complete production of satellites five and six in December, according to the release.
The first in the eight-part satellite series was powered on and tested in February and is now being prepared for delivery to the Air Force. The second satellite is also undergoing testing after first being powered on in December.
“With eight GPS III satellites now fully under contract, the GPS III program is moving from development into recurring production,” said Mark Stewart, vice president of Lockheed’s Navigation Systems mission area, in the release.
The GPS III series serves to replace aging satellites — which support military, commercial and civilian applications — in the Earth’s orbit and are expected to increase accuracy and feature longer lifespans, according to the release.
While Lockheed is the prime contractor, project subcontractors include Exelis, General Dynamics and Infinity Systems Engineering, all of which are located in Colorado.
The GPS systems are managed and operated by Air Force Space Command’s 2nd Space Operations Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.